Category Archives: Northeast Metro

More biscuits? Brunch at Gracious Plenty

Speaking of biscuits, we stopped by Gracious Plenty’s Prospect location on a Saturday recently with our friend Ann, and I was pleasantly surprised to discover its weekend-only brunch menu. Continue reading More biscuits? Brunch at Gracious Plenty

The 502 Bar & Bistro, a jewel in Norton Commons

For any chef, an invitation to come cook at James Beard House in New York City is an honor devoutly to be wished. To get there before turning 30 marks a young chef as a rising culinary young gun. Now meet Louisville’s Chef Ming Pu, 29-year-old executive chef at The 502 Bar & Bistro: This king of the kitchen is heading for Beard House this coming Tuesday, July 16, for his third visit in the past two years. Continue reading The 502 Bar & Bistro, a jewel in Norton Commons

El Mariachi is so good that even the chips excel

Let me tell you why I love El Mariachi so hard: Even the chips and salsa that drop on your table the moment you take a seat are exceptional. These thick, deeply corn-flavored treats, fashioned on the premises from fresh-made tortillas, are positively addictive. They’re so crunchy that I had to look twice to persuade myself that they weren’t lightly breaded before they were fried.

Yes, the salsa is first-rate, too, a finely mashed reddish-brown puree of red chiles, tomatoes, and herbs, just spicy enough. But those chips? Perhaps the best I ever ate, I really could make a meal of them, if that didn’t involve missing out on the rest of the menu. But I can’t do that. It’s too good to skip. Continue reading El Mariachi is so good that even the chips excel

Grassa Gramma is the next best thing to dinner in Italy

I think Grassa Gramma is more than ready for prime time. Every single thing I’ve had to eat there in two visits (so far) has been really good, and the service was fine in that not-quite obsequious hovering style that’s been a hallmark of fine Italian dining in Louisville since Casa Grisanti went upscale in the 1970s.

But, even two months after Grassa Gramma opened its oversize front doors in Holiday Manor and with crowds trooping in, owner Kevin Grangier and General Manager Tarek Hamada are still striving for perfection. Continue reading Grassa Gramma is the next best thing to dinner in Italy

Meet the new Pine Room, something like the old Pine Room

Spring was in the air on the morning of March 10, 1977, when the Harrods Creek Volunteer Fire Department rolled out to an alarm at the old Pine Room restaurant on Upper River Road. A fire that began in the beloved restaurant’s kitchen quickly involved the rest of the building.

Before fire fighters could contain it, the building was gutted by fire, smoke and water. The restaurant, a local landmark since the 1940s, closed forever. In its heyday it had been a popular destination, known for its friendly saloon atmosphere, comfort food, and lounge pianist named Mable who kept a candle burning atop her grand piano.

Now, 40-some years later, the Pine Room is back, or something a lot like it, anyway. Continue reading Meet the new Pine Room, something like the old Pine Room

Go East to Con Huevos and Joella’s

Three years ago two interesting new locally owned fast-casual eateries came to town, and I loved them both: Con Huevos set a new standard with its delicious, chef-driven Mexican breakfast and lunch. Joella’s first introduced us to Nashville-style hot chicken, a feisty genre that might remind you of Indi’s hot fried chicken but that’s really not the same.

Both eateries have recently opened branches in the metro’s eastern suburbs. Naturally I had to check them out. Continue reading Go East to Con Huevos and Joella’s